Successful first day of drive-through testing

First phase of testing focuses on frontline workers; other Islanders welcome to call for appointment.


Updated June 2

After a successful soft launch last week, Island Health Care (IHC) began its first phase of testing and taking appointments Monday. 

While testing was still going on, IHC CEO Cynthia Mitchell told The Times by phone that testing was going well, and about 51 people had been tested as of 2:40 pm.

“It’s really gone smoothly, administering tests,” Mitchell said, adding that they may make adjustments to the appointment lengths to make them faster. “It’s working out so far so good.”

The first phase of testing will prioritize frontline workers, but other Islanders are welcome to call. Vulnerable populations such as those with disabilities, those over the age of 65, or those who are immunocompromised or have existing health conditions will also be prioritized. Health officials are also looking to test those living in congregate housing and transportation workers early on in the process.

Testing is done by appointment only. Those who want to get tested must preregister with Island Health Care and call 877-336-9855 to schedule an appointment for a drive-through test.

Monday also marked the opening of the call center to schedule appointments. In an email to The Times, clinic spokeswoman Mary Breslauer said the call center, which is open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, had received about 80 calls by midday.

Mitchell said she expects the number of calls to increase as word spreads that it’s available.

“It’s apt to be a little kind of up and down, at least until the word is totally out that anyone who wants one can get one,” Mitchell said of the tests.

At noon, Stephen Rusckowski, CEO of Quest Diagnostics thanked people for their patience as the testing center got set up. “It’s been a lot of long meetings; thanks for sticking with us as we realized this vision,” Rusckowski said.

The testing site was the result of talks between Rusckowski, his wife Deborah, and Edgartown selectman Michael Donaroma, who helped set the clinic in motion. Quest Diagnostics furnished thousands of tests for the testing site, which is run cooperatively with IHC, the Vineyard’s health boards, EMS and emergency management officials, and others.

Rusckowski said he hopes to have everyone on the Island tested, to see how infections change when seasonal residents and visitors start arriving in the coming weeks.

After its first full day, the drive-through had tested a total of 73 patients, according to the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health, who are keeping tabs on the number of people tested. Of those, zero tested positive, 22 tested negative, and 51 are pending results.


Updated to include information on how to register for tests and updated testing results. — Ed.


  1. I am struggling to understand the reason people who do not have symptoms would find any comfort scheduling & obtaining a test. If it is negative, which based on the extremely low number of cases & almost no hospitalized people on the Island, most people will test negative, so what does it solve? The person can still catch it later the same day at the grocery store from the cashier. My 87 yr. old father is being contacted by his friends to go get the test. He has no symptoms, so why bother? I had it & recovered at home. Life is good, we need to live it! Open the economy!!!

    • I currently run a testing site in central Massachusetts and the positive test rate for our “worried well” clinic is 0% so we have yet to find an asymptomatic carrier and this makes sense as we are a fairly rural community. Our symptomatic clinic is running about 6%. The one thing I have learned speaking with and counseling these individuals is that the choice to test is a personal one. Some want the peace of mind that they do not have the virus so they can feel safe seeing their parents or grandchildren others have a more public health minded approach in that they want to know if they are an asymptomatic carrier. Granted in a community with low case counts it is less likely a significant number of asymptomatic carriers will be found. However, finding just one could be worth it, as new evidence is showing that a very small number of asymptomatic “super spreaders”, have accounted for many of the positive cases in some areas. I am glad you have recovered and are doing well.

  2. HRH Yas Queen, the number is 877 336-9855. covid 19 survivor, why do you care who wants to get tested? Extremely low number of cases but somehow you managed to get it.

    • Yes, I got it Uber driving off Island in the city in late April working. My point is that testing people who are not experiencing symptoms on MV will result in a minuscule number of positive cases. That money & effort would be better spent helping businesses open & putting people back to work.

  3. Are you familiar with the term asymptomatic? If not you may want to google it. It may explain why testing is so important.

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